The Celtics hold the same record overall and against the spread at 11-9. Boston is coming off a tight loss to the Sacramento Kings.
The Clippers stand at 17-6 overall and are an impressive 14-9 against the spread. In the Clippers’ most recent game, they blew out the Cleveland Cavaliers to end their six-game road trip.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Celtics-Clippers odds.
NBA Odds: Celtics-Clippers Odds
Boston Celtics +6.5 (-110)
Los Angeles Clippers -6.5 (-110)
Over 220 Points (-108)
Under 220 Points (-112)
Why The Celtics Could Cover The Spread
The Clippers might have a slight edge in overall quality of their individual defenders, but the Celtics’ team defense has been almost as good as the Clippers this season, statistically.
The Clippers have held opponents to the fourth-fewest field goals, but only the 18th-lowest field goal percentage. The Celtics rank similarly in both areas, standing at ninth and 21st in the respective categories.
Looking at defensive statistics on the perimeter, the numbers are again very close. The Celtics have allowed fewer 3-pointers and are only one spot below Los Angeles in opponent 3-point percentage.
Defensively, it looks like Boston has a good chance to at least compete with the Clips. The focus for Boston will be on the offensive end.
In the last three games, the Clippers have been vulnerable to the 3-pointer. The Nets lit them up from deep, connecting on 42% of their tries from beyond the perimeter. Both Cleveland and New York shot above their team averages from 3 against Los Angeles.
The Celtics obviously don’t have the firepower offensively that the Nets do, especially with Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart out, but they have a solid offense and hit a good percentage of 3-pointers, even if they don’t take all that many (about 12 per game).
Los Angeles has lost six games. In five of those losses, opponents hit 13 or more 3-pointers. Boston needs to bring it from 3-land to pull off the upset.
Why The Clippers Could Cover The Spread
While these teams might be close defensively, the Clippers have an advantage on the offensive end.
Los Angeles ranks second in the league in offensive efficiency, while Boston is 10th.
The Clippers have been held to under 100 points just twice all season. In both of those games, Kawhi Leonard did not play.
Because of their offensive dominance, Los Angeles has been excellent at covering large spreads. As a 6.5-point favorite or higher, the Clippers are 8-4.
While Boston usually boasts its own star duo in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to match up with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Brown is out with a sore knee and the Clips’ offensive depth overpowers Boston.
Los Angeles will look to wear down a road-weary Boston team and overwhelm them with multiple scorers.
Final Celtics-Clippers Prediction & Pick
Both teams will be missing their defensive stopper, but the Clippers will be able to cover for Patrick Beverley’s absence more than the Celtics will be able to cover for Smart being out. Brown also sitting out is a crucial blow for Boston. The Clippers’ offense will handle a Celtics team that is playing its third road game in four days. The Celtics will show some signs of fatigue, and the Clippers will get the jump on them in the first half. Los Angeles by double digits.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: LAC 121, BOS 108 (LAC -6.5)